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Snowfall to taper off but cold spell will remain

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Adding complications to the rescue effort are snowstorms that have swept across much of China's northeastern provinces and the northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Snow wreaked havoc again in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang. After being battered for days by snowstorms, the region is finally seeing clearer days but also plummeting temperatures.

Back east, Liaoning province has issued a red alert after snowstorms caused travel chaos with expressways forced to close and passenger ships departing from the port city of Dalian suspended. Municipal governments across the provinces in northeast China have deployed snow trucks to work 24/7 to prevent traffic disruptions.

China's meteorological authorities say snowfall in northern China is expected to taper off in the coming days, but as cold air masses still remain active in the region, residents will have to watch out for heavy wind and dropping temperatures.

Barely visible. In some parts of northeast China, residents have run out of options to get around town.

Severe snow of this intensity makes no distinction between walkers and drivers. For northeasterners who are certainly no strangers to snow, this is a winter to remember.

A local resident from Heilongjiang province said, "I'm going to buy some duct tape for the office door because it's been blown open."

While in northwestern Xinjiang's Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture, the weather has cleared after days of heavy snow.

But the damage is already done. Close to 200 greenhouses at this agricultural base have suffered losses to various degrees.

Local farmer Ming Zhanpeng said, "Vegetables inside can't get the sunlight they need to grow, and some of the tents have collapsed. And it's freezing cold inside. The crops inside are ruined."

Now farmers here are scrambling to salvage whatever they can before the temperature plummets again as snow melts.

The days aren't any better for livestock herders either. The furry farm animals may enjoy an immunity against cold spells, but their owners are worried about the long run as their food source is still buried deep under the snow.

A local herder from the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture said, "When the weather gets really cold and the livestock doesn't have enough to eat, the pregnant ones will be prone to miscarriage."

The local government has allocated fodder to herders to help them get through the tough times. But as an estimated 200,000 livestock in the region are going hungry. Local residents say their whole year's work will come to ruins if the weather doesn't get better soon.

Heavy snow in Xinjiang is posing danger to human lives too. In Nileke County, a pregnant woman was feeling severe stomach pain but couldn't get to the hospital in this weather. But the local hospital was able to summon a snow truck and police vehicles to clear the way for its ambulance.

According to the state meteorological service, as two cold air masses remain active in China, in the coming three days much of northern China will see a further drop in temperature of 6 to 8 degrees Celsius. And parts of Xinjiang and northeastern China will continue to see severe snowstorms.

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